A decade of books for Clinton County children


The Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Clinton County is celebrating 10 years of service to all children, birth to age five, across the county. Since 2012, the organization has mailed over 109,000 books to more than 2,000 children at no cost to families, helping them prepare for kindergarten and a lifetime of reading and learning. 

“My child absolutely loves getting her books every month from Dolly. She busts them out of the package and reads them over and over,” says one parent. “This is a huge asset to the children of Clinton County. Thank you so much!”

There are currently 927 children enrolled in the program who are receiving one book a month for the first five years of their lives – at a cost of just $30 a year. That’s a total investment of only $150, which gives each child 60 age-appropriate books as they grow. Each book includes parent engagement tools to encourage young readers to predict, infer, draw conclusions and expand their vocabulary and comprehension. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start reading to their children from birth. A large body of research has shown that children exposed to books at a young age have stronger vocabulary, literacy, attention spans and concentration, and they are better prepared. MRIs taken while preschoolers are being read to illustrate active brain development. 

Sending roughly 11,000 of these high quality, Blue Ribbon Series books annually costs the Dolly Parton Imagination Library about $25,000. With private donations and grant dollars, the organization supports the cost of the books so they can be provided to families affordably. There is a special focus on low-income and special needs families, who may have difficult schedules, transportation barriers or live far from local libraries. 

“I think this is the best thing someone could ever do for a child. I’m grateful my children get to be a part of it,” says a Clinton County mom. “My kids love receiving a book in the mail and get so excited for story time. As a single mom, the only time I really get with my kids while working two jobs is story time, and it’s all thanks for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and staff! Thank you all!”

Sponsors who help make these moments possible for children and families across the county include the LincolnWay Community Foundation, Clinton County United Way, DeWitt Noon Lions, local businesses, individuals, parents and grandparents. Donations of just $25 will support sending books to a child each month for a year. Gifts of $125 support sending books to five children for a year. Support can be mailed to:

Imagination Library 

PO Box 225

DeWitt, IA 52742           

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library holds a fund with the LincolnWay Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. The LincolnWay Community Foundation assists in charitable projects and programs that improve quality of life in rural Clinton County. The Foundation provides grants, scholarships, tax benefits and administration services to organizations, churches, schools and individuals with charitable intent in Calamus, Charlotte, Delmar, DeWitt, Goose Lake, Grand Mound, Lost Nation, Low Moor, Welton and Wheatland. To learn more, visit dbqfoundation.org/lincolnway or contact Amanda Willimack, executive director, at lwcf@dbqfoundation.org or 563.212.2812